Sunday, July 31, 2011

HAUNTED HOTELS

I don't know what's up with the hotels in the International League over the past few weeks. Last week we stayed in Scranton, Pennsylvania where we were told the hotel was possessed by ghosts. Yesterday I checked into my room in Toledo, Ohio and found a half drank Pepsi, the extremely pungent smell of Sex Panther cologne that really did sting my nostrils, and a rubber duck in the bath tub. It actually worked out pretty well for me though, as I quickly realized I had forgotten my G.I. Joe's back in Syracuse.

I tweeted last week about my haunted hotel experience, so I wanted to take a few minutes and let you all in on what it was like spending four nights with ghosts. I will preface my story with the fact that I am scared of the dark. Honestly, it scares the shit out of me. I can't even fall asleep with a night light on. That thing is probably even spookier than sleeping in total darkness. You can make fun of me it's fine. My three year old cousins give me shit for it all the time. Anyways, not only do I not like the dark, but I friggin' hate ghosts. Weird huh? The kid that doesn't like the dark is also afraid of ghosts. As surprised as you may be, it's true. So when I found out that our hotel was haunted you can probably tell how excited I was for the next four nights.

Before I head up to my room for my first night in our haunted hotel I am bombarded with ghosts stories from teammates that have either stayed there before or heard from other buddies the stuff they had experienced. I hear about the crazy "waiter ghost" that runs up and down the hallways with his tray of food only to disappear when guests spot him. The little kid that lives on the 6th floor that enjoys spinning his head around 360 degrees. The train that supposedly loudly passes right outside the hotel every night even though the tracks had been removed more than 100 years ago. And the lady that apparently commits suicide by jumping of the 6th floor balcony a few nights a week. These are just some of the stories I heard before making my way back to my room around 1 AM the first night.

As I open my door I'm greeted by my alarm clock radio playing at full blast. If you've seen the movie 1408 you know what I'm talking about. If I wasn't already intimidated of this place, I was now. You may be thinking, "Come on Matt, that's nothing to be scared of!" Well, the strange part is that the radio alarm was turned to "off " but the music kept playing. We eventually had to unplug the radio from the wall to get it to stop. When it was finally time to go to bed, falling asleep was harder than I had anticipated. According to the stories, guests usually notice strange activity in their rooms from 1 AM to 5 AM. It was about 2 AM at this point and I couldn't help but notice I was in the "danger zone." Our air conditioning unit wasn't helping my sleeping disorder any. It would turn on and off every few minutes accompanied by the most unpleasant sound I'd ever heard. Perfectly fitting for a haunted hotel. To my delight, it turns out I didn't spot any ghosts, but that didn't stop me from poking my head out from under the covers and checking for them every ten minutes throughout the night. Apparently I wasn't the only one that came up empty on the ghost front. We officially had zero sightings during our four day stay, and that's just fine with me. I'm just glad we don't go back there again this year, and if I'm back next year I probably won't be staying at the team hotel.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PERFECT

Since I've been on the road the last few days and haven't had much time to write on here I wanted to take a quick minute and give a quick shout out and congratulations to former teammate of mine Justin Germano, who threw a no-hitter against us last night while pitching for the Columbus Clippers. As much as it sucked that he had to throw the no-no against us, it is still a great accomplishment, and the first time I have ever seen a perfect game.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

TRIVIA FOR BATTING GLOVES

Hey what's up everyone? We are going to have another trivia contest coming up in a few days and the winner will receive a brand new pair of red Nike batting gloves. The question will be posted on Tuesday, July 26 on my Touch 'Em All Baseball Channel. For more details on the contest check out this video.



Don't forget that in order to win you must subscribe to our Youtube channel here Touch 'Em All Baseball Channel and also be the first to leave the correct answer in the comment section on Youtube. I wish everyone luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

ALL-STAR BREAK

Before I begin to write I want you guys to check this out. It may just be one of the most amazing things I've seen. Enjoy!


Ok now that you are extremely impressed, or really pissed I just wasted four whole minutes of your life, I can start to answer some questions. I've received a lot of emails over the past week asking about my experience at the All-Star game in Salt Lake City and also wishing me luck. I wanted to thank everyone for the good luck wishes and also take a few minutes to write a little bit about my time there.

I can't lie, when I arrived to our field last Sunday I was really looking forward to that three day All-Star break. I hadn't yet found out that I had made the All-Star team, so I had a glorious three days planned of sleeping, eating, laying on my sofa, eating some more, and probably going back to sleep. And it sounded terrific! I guess the first half of the season took more out of me than I had expected. I guess that's what happens when you haven't played a full season in more than two years. Or maybe that's what happens when you turn 26. Either way I felt old and tired and needed a break. When I found out that day that I had made the team and would be flying out to Salt Lake City at 6 AM the next morning the first thing that popped in my head was, "Shit, that 4 AM alarm is gonna suck." Once again I can't lie, the alarm really did suck when it went off the next morning. But looking back on the three days spent in Utah I'm extremely glad I didn't shut my clock off and go back to bed, and had the opportunity to be a part of the All-Star week.

It's always an honor to be named an All-Star, no matter what league you are playing in. After playing in the International League for more than two months I've seen a lot of really talented players, so being chosen to represent our league meant a lot. I know a lot of you guys have been asking what type of things went on during the break, so I'll take a few minutes to break it down for you.

I arrived in Salt Lake around 2 PM on Monday after a two hour flight to Atlanta and four hour flight to Utah. That night we had the home run derby where I was elected to participate but chose against it, instead allowing other guys to experience their time in the limelight. (I'm kidding. I have three home runs this year and nobody wants to watch someone shoot singles through the 4-hole in a home run derby) The event was actually pretty amazing. The finals was between Stefan Gartrell of the Gwinett Braves and a local high school player Kayden Porter, who qualified for the derby in the local high school home run derby. Don't let his age of sixteen fool you. He stood six foot five and weighed over 250 pounds. I honestly thought at first that Mark McGwire was a celebrity guest when I saw him walking to the plate. Even though he was allowed to swing a metal bat, I don't think I've ever seen a player of any age hit balls as far as this kid was hitting them. One was estimated at 550 feet, and it honestly may have gone further. It was by far the best home run derby I've ever been to.

The following day we arrived to the field around 11 AM and spent most of the afternoon signing autographs for fans and sponsors of the All-Star event. I was really surprised at home many Salt Lake Bee's fans remembered me from my Portland Beavers days. I guess it's hard to forget a guy that struck out that much. Anyways, later that day we had a game of Miracle Baseball with the Shriner's Hospital for Children. I was amazed at the swings some of these kids had. And the smiles on their faces when they made contact with the ball was priceless.

The following morning we were up early for a luncheon where the teams were introduced at EnergySolutions Arena, the home of the Utah Jazz. The guest speaker for our event was Rod Carew, former MLB player and Hall of Fame member. He spent about thirty minutes or so speaking with us about his career, sharing advice to the players and wishing us the best of luck. At the end he spent time answering everyones questions, mostly about baseball and how he could hopefully teach us to hit about 1/10 as well as he did. It's not everyday you are able to gain some knowledge from a Hall of Fame hitter so I was pretty excited.

Our game started later that night around 7 PM where we ended up defeating the Pacific Coast League 3-0. The PCL is known for its offense but this night was all about pitching. I ended the night playing four innings at short stop and went 0-2 at the plate. The game was televised on the MLB Network, and from what I've heard from people, my hair was looking pretty damn good in HD.

Before I knew, it was time to jump on a plane the following morning around 8 AM and head back to the East Coast to play in a game that night in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. I did come away with some cool gifts from the event. Every player received a really nice All-Star edition Rockwell watch, along with a Flip camera. What can I say, free stuff gets me pretty excited.

Now it's back to the grind. I think we have a little less than fifty games left on our schedule. If we want any chance at making the playoffs we will have to get a nice winning streak started soon and tonight sounds pretty good to me. I'll talk with you all later.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

MR. FIT

Hey guys. I just got back to Lehigh Valley after a long day of flying yesterday. I was going to write a little bit about my experience over the last few days in Salt Lake City, but I desperately needed to catch up on sleep. I figure I'll save the writing for tonight during our four hour bus ride back to Syracuse. Instead I thought I'd throw this up. It's a really really nice article from my friend and strength and conditioning coach Mark Cinelli, or as he's known by the ladies, Mr. Fit. He writes a fitness blog for the Boston Herald, so be sure to check it out online. Thanks Mark!


A Well Deserved Honor for one of My Athletes

Congratulations to CATZ Needham athlete, Matt Antonelli (Peabody, MA), on his selection for the 2011 Triple A All-Star game in Salt Lake City, Utah. Matt is currently playing professional baseball for the Washington Nationals, Triple A affiliate, Syracuse Chiefs. I have had the pleasure of training and getting to know Matt for the last three years. Matt is a hard working and dedicated individual and one of the most genuine people I know. At CATZ our Mantra is “Prepare to be Great”, and Matt exemplifies that in every sense of the word. He is willing to learn and wants to get better everyday. He strives to be the best person he can be on and off the field. Over the past two seasons Matt has battled back from a couple of injuries, as well as moving on to play for a new team. If there is anyone who deserves this honor, it’s Matt. Congratulations my friend and good luck in the Game


“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

-Unknown


Matt you made this happen through commitment to yourself, desire to succeed and a will to never give up.


Stay Active, Stay Fit


Twitter.com/MrFitBlog


Monday, July 11, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY

Hey everybody, how are we all doing today? I received a nice surprise yesterday when I was told I'd be jumping on a plane today to Salt Lake City, Utah to participate in the Triple-A All-Star Game. I guess it's like they say, better late than never. I woke up this morning at 4 AM to head to the airport for what was suppose to be a total of seven hours of flight time. Unfortunately, both of my flights were delayed because of plane issues and the trip took just under nine. This got me thinking.

Why when your plane is delayed because of a mechanical problem do they always let you know specifically what the problem is? "Ladies and gentleman, we are having some problems with our aircraft today. It seems the right engine doesn't want to cooperate this morning and the left wing is partly detached from the body. We are going to have maintenance come out here with some superglue and see if we can get this thing put back together. Sorry for the delay." Now I have to fly across the country wondering the whole time what type of glue they used and if its strong enough to keep me in the air for six hours. Just tell us that the plane is delayed and for how long and that's it. I don't want to know specifics.

Anyways, the engine stayed on the entire time and it must have been some bad ass glue because I did arrive safely. I'll be heading over to the team hotel with one of my teammates Tom Milone to find out exactly what the deal is for the next few days. I believe we have the home run derby tonight, but for some reason me and my three home runs weren't invited. Too bad it wasn't a "seeing-eye single" derby. I'd dominate that shit.

I hope everyone enjoys the beginning of the new week and I will talk with you all after I get some much needed shut eye.

Friday, July 8, 2011

INTERVIEW

A few days ago I did an interview with Jason Benetti and Kevin Brown, the voices of Syracuse Chiefs baseball. I was asked some pretty freakin' hard questions, but I thought I did OK answering them. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I THINK I BROKE MY ASS

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a great July 4th weekend! I spent mine playing two games over the weekend in Buffalo, New York and then headed back to Syracuse for a night game on the 4th of July. It's always fun to play during this time of year, as they tend to be some of the best baseball days of the season with sold out crowds and post game fireworks. While in Buffalo, Laura and I were able to take a quick trip over to Niagara Falls to check it out. Unfortunately, the traffic was horrible and by the time we arrived we only had about twenty minutes to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Nonetheless, it was still a pretty cool sight and a shit ton of water.

In other news, over the years I've dealt with my fair share of injuries. (If you've followed my blog you know what I'm talking about) In my five year professional career I've hurt a knee, a hand, a wrist, a finger, a hamstring, my mental health, and the list goes on. A few days ago I hurt something I've never hurt before. Don't worry, it isn't anything serious, but it sure hurts like hell. The crazy part is, it doesn't really hurt when I play, but it kills when I'm sitting on the sofa at home watching TV. A few days ago I slid into second base ripping my pants and sliding shorts that I wear under my uniform. Unfortunately, they don't give you much time for a wardrobe change and I had to slide three more times in the game. The difference was I now had the opportunity to slide on my bare ass. I'm guessing not many people have tried this before, but I can tell you from experience, it's not very fun to run full speed and dive naked onto dirt. Anyways, I now have the biggest strawberry known to man, and its located in perhaps the most uncomfortable spot to have a bruise. I'd show you a picture, but I don't want the cops showing up at my door. Instead, here is a video a fan took of my reaction after I slid.

video

There hasn't been a whole lot to write about over the last few days since its been basically the same busy schedule for me. I have noticed one thing that I thought I would write about today. Most people I talk with are extremely confused when I tell them that I play baseball every single night. I've probably received a few dozen texts, emails, Facebook messages, etc. from people asking me what I was planing to do for the holiday weekend. When I told them I was playing in Buffalo and then back in Syracuse to play on the 4th they seemed really surprised. I received the same response every time, "You don't get a few days off to celebrate?" The funny part is I don't receive this question just on the 4th. I get asked all the time what I'll be doing for the weekend. Again, when I tell people I have games they are surprised we don't get the weekends off. When I inform them that we only have one off-day a month they look at me stunned, kind of like the jury just told them Casey Anthony was not guilty. Most think I am lying. I've always just assumed people knew that baseball was played every single night. If you don't count the All-Star break as days off, since some guys will be playing in the game, we only have five off-days for the entire season, which lasts a little more than five months. Crazy I know.

Well, I just got back from a game and I have a big thing of Chinese food sitting next to me waiting to be eaten. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of the week. I'm hungry!